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City officials say they won't use red tape to tie up demolition

June 17, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Most Hagerstown elected officials said Tuesday they would not hold up a permit to stave off the demolition of the roundhouse complex.

But Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the city is known for having a slow permit process. "Ask any developer," he said.

The issue arose after David Nelson, a new member to the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum Inc., suggested the city hold up the permit if CSX Real Property sticks to its July 3 deadline.

CSX has given museum officials until July 3 to raise $500,000 to buy the 40 acres along South Burhans Boulevard and get a government agency to take over legal responsibility for the land or the buildings will be razed.

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"We've been slow on permits before," Bruchey said.

After the meeting, four of the five City Council members polled said they wouldn't hold up such a permit.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said she didn't think it would come to that, but if it did, she would make a decision then.

Councilman William M. Breichner said CSX's driving force behind demolishing the complex's buildings is safety concerns. Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker has said he is worried about firefighters going on the property because of open pits.

City Building Inspector Mike Heyser said he has never been asked to hold up a permit during the 10 years he has worked for the city.

CSX had not applied for a demolition permit as of Tuesday.

City officials met with the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday to discuss the roundhouse and other matters.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said federal transportation funds could be used to help the roundhouse since there is money specifically set aside for transportation museums.

Snook said he would ask the Metropolitan Planning Organization to discuss funding the roundhouse when the group meets on June 29.

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